By Robert Haugh
Last night, the Santa Clara City Council had a study session to discuss business taxes and other possible revenue measures for the November 2022 ballot.
The City staff spent a lot of time discussing a variety of business taxes on the following list:
Vice Mayor Raj Chahal led the charge for an employee head count tax. He said he’s wanted to create one since he took office in 2019.
Chahal singled out three companies that he wants to pay millions more with a head count tax. Those companies are Nvidia, Intel and AMD. He said they have a combined market cap of nearly a trillion dollars.
“They can easily afford a few million dollars here and there,” said Chahal. “It’s nothing. It’s peanuts.”
Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce President Christian Pellecchia called in during public testimony and said that Santa Clara is a business friendly city and should stay that way. He asked the Council to make that goal a priority as the City studies business taxes.
The Council voted unanimously for Pellecchia’s request. But Chahal didn’t seem happy about it even though he voted for it.
Chahal joined Councilmen Anthony Becker and Kevin Park who want to figure out ways to tax data centers more.
The three of them said an employee head tax would not cost data centers much since they have few employees. So they want to study how to single out data centers for special fees or taxes to raise more revenue from them.
Below is the timeline that City staff laid out last night for moving forward. We’ll follow this issue as it develops over the coming months.